Saturday, 24 January 2015

Violent reactions

Violent crime in my country is nuts. It's either on the up or people are just recording it more - seems the only thing you can do these days is record the actions and make people aware.

It's not just my country though - all these reports of police brutality/excessive action in the US, 'religious' attacks all over the world... It makes me crazy. And despondent. What do you do?

The most recent incident I've come across was a case of hijackers impersonating police officers (in an unmarked vehicle though), pulling over a couple in an SUV, trying to abduct both of them while stealing the SUV. The couple managed to escape, though first being shot at by these cretins. A young girl in another car witnessed this and recorded it on her cell phone while someone else in her car phoned the actual police.

Shame, the caller's report was incredibly unhelpful to the policeman on the other end of the line, but having been in a confrontation with a criminal, I understand that clear, logical statements in the heat of the moment are not easily made.

I don't know why I make myself watch these things - my heart started racing and I got so, so angry. Even now, a good twenty minutes later, I still have the ire in my blood. Watching the video, I thought, wouldn't it be great if someone who owned a hummer, or even a proper bull-barred Isuzu/Toyota/Nissan bakkie, just rammed their vehicle straight into the unmarked 'police' car. I have a vicious streak, unfortunately after the fact though. In the moment you feel so impotent. Afterwards you want to drive nails into their knees and electrocute the bastards.


It worries me that the human race has members who will perform such crimes, such and worse. There really isn't much the average Joe can do against AK-47s and unconscionable actions, for which the perpetrators have no remorse.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a biological weapon out there that could accurately pick out these types of people and eradicate them? We can dream.

Monday, 19 January 2015

A male mind boggle

What a douche.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I don't understand all the gushy gushy stuff, particularly when all over social media.

A friend of mine got dumped this weekend by a guy who, based on all his comments and social media love notes to her, had that as the last thing on his mind. Note that this is the second time he's broken up with her. Guess I am a bit pissed off with him, and I don't even know him!

So, the question I am asking myself is: was all the mooshy gooshy stuff social media posing? I think she was certainly in serious like with him at the very least. Then again, she feels things very deeply. Him on the other hand - was he saying what he thought she wanted to hear for reasons of his own, or did he actually mean them? If he meant them, then how can he go from 'I love you so much' to dumping her in such quick succession? How can 'love' relationships be so freaking chop-change?

No wonder I am distrustful of men and the things they say (people in general actually). Words without action to back them up are just that, words. Flimsy and changable.

Bit of a detour... the guy I got so hung up on in CT got engaged this weekend. Another guy of words and little action. I saw the engagement announcement and I finally did what I should have done ages ago - deleted him off my FB. I realised I just didn't want to see all the well-wishing and happy-couples thing from him. Perhaps juvenile of me but so be it. Anyway, starting to feel really left behind on this whole relationships thing. I keep missing the memos it seems. Just in general, 2015 seems to be the year of weddings/engagements on my social media feeds.

And back to the story...

I feel badly for my friend as I know she's feeling sad and probably rather hurt. I guess you can't have the good without the bad. I hope he did mean all the lovey dovey things he said to her - at least then she would know the good parts were real. Part of me still wants to slap the guy upside the head though.

I shall restrain myself.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Dinner for one

I am not a foodie, never have been. Probably never will be. But every now and then I get in the mood to cook and ever so rarely I make something different. Usually these instances occur when there are things in the fridge that need to be used before going off. Since I have given myself food poisoning before (some good looking but strange tasting tuna-rice-salad thing), I get a bit nervous when experimenting.

Last night turned out quite well though. Possibly because the combination used rings bells in my head and some chef somewhere has probably done it before and made it famous. First time for me though.

Here it is:

...with sides of steamed cauliflower and broccoli, and smash.

Mango-and-feta stuffed chicken breasts (getting better at the whole incising for stuffing thing) rubbed with olive oil, Robertsons Chicken Spice, black pepper and rosemary. Then baked in the oven with coarsely chopped red pepper and the remaining mango/feta mix (which had nutmeg, ginger and cayenne pepper in it btw) spread over and around the chicken pieces. About 55 min in the oven at 180 degrees C covered in foil, then 10 or so min under the grill.

Was quite tasty. I have another three pieces as leftovers, so guess what I am having for lunch/dinner over the next two days...

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Who are you?

When I look at my blog stats and the number of views today, or from the week or since inception, I look at the numbers and I wonder who you people are and where you're from (America, and even South Africa - my two biggest readerships -  are big places) and what you're like.

And why you're reading.

I'm happy that you do, but my blog doesn't have a theme per se. Mostly me whinging or venting and being silly. Just one random person. One of billion.

All this wondering on my part might have something to with the fact that no-one ever comments.

And that makes me wonder if it's because you the readers don't find anything worth commenting on (entirely possible), or couldn't be bothered because you only read the first sentence or few and moved on. Or some other reason.

The scientist in me finds my blog stats insufficient. I'd like to get an idea for who my readers are; whether the 50 views are repeat readers or 50 different people doing 50 different things with their lives.

So please, if you have a mo, tell me. From my scattered words over the past two years you might have an idea of who I am. I'd like to know you too.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Minor freakout - could get major

Technology hates me. I am starting to feel like the Universe doesn't want me to finish my PhD. After working perfectly well last night, just before sleeping, my laptop has decided to lose its mind.

Switched it on today to try get files off of it, and it freaked out. Eventually got logged in and just as I was about to transfer files to my external drive, I got several randomized narrow rectangles scattered across the screen which were blinking and being all, well, fractal-ee. And then the laptop switched itself off. And then back on again but landed at a black screen and refused to move.

As with most things technological, the first step was 'Have you tried turning it off and on again?'. Yes. Several times. Varying levels of success. All terminating in the laptop either freezing, doing its fractal dance and going black, or not booting into anything at all.

Now I have a paper to try get out and software that I've just installed on the thing that won't install on my work machine. I need that software to run stuff to complete some analysis.

Stupid. Effing. Machine. I don't even think this is a case of stupid effing user, like is often the case. Appears to be a hardware issue, but what the issue is, I don't know. Have gotten some advice from people and if all else fails will take it to the comp dude at work and beg and plead for mercy.

I have angered the techno gods. Must have. Some how.

Do you think they accept microchip cookies as offering? I would sacrifice my machine at their altar but I need it. Come December 2015 this thing can blow up for all I care, but between now and then I really need it to not give me grief.

Holding thumbs.

And toes.

And knocking wood.

And rubbing bunny tails.


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Attempting order

I had quite a productive day yesterday (I was about to type productful, but is that even a word?!). I have so much to do in 2015 what with needing to finish my PhD and what not, that I think I needed to organise my life a bit before going back to work (tomorrow). Clean house, clean mind, or something like that.

On Friday night I decided that I needed to rearrange my furniture in my bedroom which ultimately led to a bleeding toe and one hell of a mess. I gave up. But that drive for change and doing things was still there yesterday morning and then I did succeed in getting my desk out of the room without more injury. Helps if you unpack it first.

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All them pretty colours!
I've repurposed the desk:
  1. I need to try stop using it as a dumping ground for anything and everything. The percentage of time you can actually see the desk top is minimal.
  2. I wanted to organise my hobby - knitting - into something that didn't involve grocery packets full of wool and bits and bobs everywhere.
So it's now my knitting station, and need to get a set of drawers that I can put my notepads and other potentially useful stuff in - again, more organisation.

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Memory wall - photos, drawing, comics,
poems, postcards and coasters. SA forever.
I also did a batch of laundry, vacuumed - though the dust here is evil and sticks resolutely to these silly white tiles - and continued to sort out all the crap that was in my room. I think I am a bit of a hoarder. Nothing hectic, but I still had things from 8 years ago. Eg, I have a packaging box full of notes from my undergrad years. The concept is, you don't know when you'll want to refer to them; I even carted them down to CT with me back in 2011. But the truth is, I haven't looked at it since I put the papers in there. Time to chuck it out, recycle.

With the rearranging of my room, I was able to put up my memory wall again. More hoarding.  I need to get postcards from France and India - went there but didn't bring any back. Plus it seems I collect beer coasters now. I have some from Brugges, Sydney (one of my favourites), and Dubai Airport. Plus some random SA ones I've picked up in pubs.

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Relaxing for a mo watching the world.
SO. Yes. A busy busy day. I also went and did a major grocery shop (almost R700!!) since our fridge was bare and veggies were needed. Plus I got some D.I.Y. done - after more than a year here I have finally fixed my cupboard doors to stay closed, plus putting in a hook so my bedroom door doesn't slam shut with the slightest thought of wind. Kudos to me.
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A de-lish dinner, sort of healthy.
The veggies came in useful - made roasted veg in cheesy sauce for dinner. And while that was cooking I took a break and enjoyed a cold beer on the balconette. Finished the day off with knitting my penultimate letter square and a conversation with an old friend. Must say, I wouldn't have persevered through the day without the music I had playing throughout. So I guess we can add dancing around to the list of things I did.

Now another load of washing is in, and I am going to drink my tea and watch Spice World before getting into more organising. Have a lovely day!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A bit of Bethulie

Eerste dag van die nuwe jaar.

Oh great. I'm thinking in Afrikaans again. Time to get out of the Free State. Let's try that again...

First day of the new year. It's my last full day here in Bethulie and my dad just took me on a tour of the town and surrounds. He's quite proud of this place's historical aura. Apparently it's the 2nd oldest town in the Free State. It had 'one of the worst' concentration camps during the Boer War, but whose fault that is depends on who you talk to. Many of the Afrikaaners down here still have a huge chip on their shoulders w.r.t. the English. Granted, the latter did burn down their houses and farms, so I would be a bit bitter too. However, that was decades ago. Decades. How can you expect the black community to stop blaming Apartheid (20 years ago) for everything when you're still blaming the English for deeds done even further in the past (over a century!)? Pot calling kettle, pot calling kettle, come in please.

There is a really nice bridge though:

The Hennie Steyn Bridge over the Orange River, although apparently this portion of the river has been renamed to the Gariep. That means 'red water' in Khoi San so I'm told. Would never have guessed that language as its origin. Anyway, we went over this bridge today and it is quite pretty. Its claim to fame is being the longest rail & road bridge in the southern hemisphere.

This town is small and looks like parts of it are dying. It has potential though and a lot of history and old buildings from the early 20th century. Potential. Only time will tell if this was all a huge mistake.

I can't wait to get back to Durban.